Tokyo now has three ramen restaurants with one Michelin star

With Japan being the land of ramen, you’d think the country would have a long list of Michelin starred ramen restaurants. Surprisingly, this is not the case. In fact, it wasn’t until 2016 that the prestigious food guide awarded a ramen restaurant its very first star.

Tsuta in Tokyo has the honor of being the first ramen restaurant in the world to receive a coveted Michelin star (but unfortunately lost it since). Nakiryu followed suit in 2017 and Konjiki Hototogisu in 2019. Now one of our favorite ramen restaurants in Tokyo – Ginza Hachigo – has also been awarded a star.

The three restaurants, which each hold one star in the 2022 Michelin Guide, offer a very distinct interpretation of the classic Japanese dish. If you’re looking for a star-studded meal without breaking the bank, go for these stellar noodles in Tokyo now.

Photo: Lim Chee Wah

New member of the super-exclusive Michelin-starred ramen club, Ginza Hachigo is run by a chef with a French culinary background – and it works in his favor. The beautifully complex soup tastes of consomme. It’s clear, light but tasty, and made by boiling Nagoya Cochin chicken, duck, scallops, sundried tomatoes and shiitake mushrooms, konbu (seaweed), an ancestral Kyoto green onion and, surprisingly, some Ham.

The noodle bowl is then topped with bamboo shoots, green onions and slices of chashu pork before finishing with a pinch of French sea salt and black pepper. Sure, it’s a modern take on ramen, but it’s utterly delicious.

Konjiki Hototogisu 金色 不如 帰
金色 不如 帰Konjiki Hototogisu

This Shinjuku ramen specialist’s signature shoyu noodles combine three types of soup broth – pork broth, wa-dashi (Japanese broth), and hamaguri clam dashi – then topped with truffle sauce and porcini oil. for a daring umami punch.

But we especially love the shio soba, which mixes two types of salt (Mongolian rock salt and Okinawan sea salt) to showcase the distinctive seafood sweetness in the soup. The noodles are then finished with Italian white truffle oil, porcini mushroom sauce, pancetta bacon pieces and inca berry sauce. This adds robustness and pesto depth to the overall flavor. Be ready to tilt the bowl towards your lips to get the last drop of the soup.

Nakiryu
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

Nakiryu offers the standard shio and shoyu ramen, but it’s the house’s special dandanmen that attract punters. Originating in the Chinese province of Sichuan, the spicy noodles at this Otsuka ramen restaurant have a refined, light but still bold red pepper soup base. There is a good kick of pepper as well as a tasty nutty sesame seeds. You can also accompany your noodles with a small selection of side dishes, including shrimp wonton, charsiu pork, and boiled gyoza.

Craving more good noods? Here are the best ramen in Tokyo.

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